So I have been stuck in a bit of a rut lately. It is an odd rut, odd because just about every other aspect of my life, aside from a single aspect, has been firing on all cylinders lately. Following boatloads of work and intentional action my wife and I are thriving in our marriage. We are talking, sharing, relating, putting each other as a priority and are ready to take on whatever our next phase of life looks like together, as a team. Relationally I am still baby stepping my way towards healthy relationships with extended family and friends. And spiritually I feel like I have been thriving. I have been taking more intentional actions to be a part of my spiritual community, and frankly, my pastor’s sermons – for the most part this entire year – have been home runs every single Sunday.
But then there’s the career track. Perhaps it is because I just finished Jon Acuff’s new book “Start,” (review on the way soon), but I have been assessing how I got to where I am today. According to Jon, if I stay on my current track, I will rack up years of service with my current employer, moving up ranks in title and likely to change a few departments and divisions along the way. According to Acuff, that’s the average path. The awesome path is blazed with passion, mystery, intrigue and the well calculated risk.
So I’ve been asking myself how did I get to where I am, and where do I want to go. To be honest the safety of planting myself in the “safe organization” and plucking away at the next few decades, having only changed job titles and descriptions, does not really sound appealing to me. But I don’t know where I want to go either.
Branch out on my own and be a personal financial advisor to median income households? Try to monetize this blog? Become a freelance financial writer? Go back to college, earn a teaching degree and teach personal finance and coach basketball to high school students? I’ve weighed each of these paths and while I believe each are attainable and can be reached with enough effort and hustle, I still haven’t pursued them.
Why? I think the fear of change and let down are what paralyze me. Right now our household has a steady stream of income, no debt, health insurance, a savings plan to travel, buy a house and retire with dignity. Add on top of that the anxiety that if I go down the path on any one of the aforementioned ideas, that there’s a chance I could feel the same way about that career as I do today; rudderless and not doing what drives my passions.
Which makes me wonder how someone (mainly me) can be approaching 30 and not have nailed down what his passions are in life. And as I mentioned earlier in this post, I can’t get over that this one area of my life almost makes everything else that I’ve worked so hard for seem to fall by the waist hand.
But what surprises me most is that these feelings and this revelation to myself has occurred AFTER getting my financial act together. When I was in the early stages of the baby steps there were easily defined goals and dreams: Baby Emergency Fund - check, pay off debt - check, fully fund emergency fund and start saving for retirement – check, get the right insurances – check. And now that I have the lofty goal of running the marathon and saving to pay cash for a house, it is now, after 4 years of being personally debt free and almost a year of being in a debt free marriage, that I am pulling back to assess where I want to be in my career.
So where do I go from here? I plan to take a good hard look and assessment at balancing where I derive value from in the day to day. I love being a husband and am learning to be a better Christian, friend and family member to others. I want my relationship with God and with my wife to be the driving force of my day to day happiness, rather than the frustration of not knowing where I want my career to go. I feel that it’s ok to be concerned with my career track, but I don’t want it dictating my mood day in and day out.
What I will try is starting at the end. I plan to picture myself in my golden years, sitting on a rocker, and think about the kind of life I would want to look back on and be proud to have lived. What’s important, what’s not, and everything in between. Maybe that would be a good starting ground to gain some perspective. And I’m looking forward to sharing the results with you here. So stay tuned, I know I am! J